Outsourcing Your Technical IT Support – The Advantages, Disadvantages & Perfect Middle Ground
Outsourcing IT support and other specific business operations is becoming ever popular. It’s a cost-effective way to ensure that you have the expertise you need within your business, without the difficulties of hiring a specialist team of people.
Naturally, given the technical knowledge required, many businesses have opted to outsource their IT support. In many respects it’s a good idea. Businesses can essentially have an entire technical support team, when in all likelihood, they couldn’t afford to hire the same staff in-house.
Conversely, there are some downsides. Most notably the IT support team we’re talking about here isn’t actually yours. They’ll be working for other companies too, which inevitably means you will also have to wait for an answer to some of your questions.
With that all being said, we thought we’d take a look at the advantages of outsourcing your IT, as well as the disadvantages. After that, we’ll present to you what we think is the perfect middle ground.
The advantages of outsourcing your technical IT support.
The biggest advantage of outsourcing your IT is the cost.
The average internal IT support engineer will earn an annual salary of £23,000. When you include National Insurance contributions, that’s over £26,000 p/a and that’s without considering additional costs such as training, the computer they’ll use, as well as software and any other expenses you afford them.
This is also just for one employee, which is where outsourced IT departments have another advantage.
In the example illustrated above, you will only get one employee for £25k – £35k every year. This employee has a finite capacity, will be entitled to holiday and may also be absent due to illness or unforeseen circumstances. During any absences your company must continue to operate, and your other employees are still likely to need IT support.
Compare this to an outsourced alternative. For a fixed monthly cost, you have an entire IT department, not just a single employee. Here at Acronyms for example we have 13 members of staff who can help you with your IT support needs.
What’s more, our employees all have different levels of experience, knowledge, skill sets and specialisms. Therefore, should one person not have an answer to your support query, there’s a good chance someone else in the team will. Unfortunately, when you hire internally you’re limited to the knowledge of your team, which in reality, often means the limits of your bank balance!
Alternatively, if you pick a growing IT support company, you’ll always have an expanding IT support department with no additional employment or training costs!
The disadvantages of outsourcing your technical IT support.
As with most things in life, there are also cons to outsourcing your IT support desk.
Inevitably, no matter how long they work with you, or how good an external support desk may be, they will never have the time to learn about a company to the extent of an internal employee.
The very nature of an IT support company means that they serve multiple businesses. They will always make best endeavours to learn as much as possible about your company, the network and the systems you use and how you operate. However, it’s only natural, that they won’t have the same level of understanding as a dedicated, internal member of staff (or team).
The fact that they serve multiple customers also means that the priority of requests is at their mercy.
When receiving external support, Service Level Agreements (minimum expectations) should always be conveyed to the customer, but nonetheless, these will rarely be instant unless in the event of a major system failure or cyber-attack. This means that a problem concerning a mouse or a keyboard, whilst frustrating, may take a little longer to resolve than it would if you had someone sat in your office with the rest of your team.
Your outsourced technical support will prioritise support requests based on the impact they are having on an entire company and in relation to all the companies that they serve and the issues of that day. For example, another company may be suffering from ransomware on the same day that you have an update issue with your laptop. Unfortunately, in such instances it’s likely that you’ll have to wait to the end of your SLA for a resolution.
The perfect middle ground to outsourcing your IT provisions.
In our opinion, the best solution to IT support is a healthy middle ground and a combination of an outsourced IT support desk and an internal IT Manager. This may appear like we’re sitting on the fence, but it has a number of benefits.
Firstly, you keep costs to a reasonable minimum. Whilst, you don’t make all the financial savings of using purely an external team, the costs for such a solution are reasonable for what you get in return.
Secondly, you can utilise the IT support company’s wealth of experience across their entire team. This can be priceless as IT training can be costly and experience in a problem-solving industry is vital. By teaming up with an IT support company you can be sure that you have enough technical individuals in support of your company to cover you in any eventuality.
One of the most important features of such a setup though is the constant presence of an on-site IT Manager, who should become a point of contact for the external support desk. This in itself has many benefits.
The IT Manager can be on hand to solve any issues that the company has that can be solved quickly and easily, such as password changes. They can also work on larger strategic plans to ensure that the business never lacks the IT provisions required. They can also work closely with the outsourced company to translate technical conversations for internal management and they can ensure that the IT desk understands the ways in which the company go about their work.
With such a middle ground, you also always have cover. Should your IT Manager fall ill or book a holiday, you know you’ll have an experienced team of IT engineers at hand, ready to give you the assistance you need.